This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2005 Travels August 8

MONDAY 8 AUGUST     PUNGALINA

A day off, after working 15 days straight! And most of them had been long bloody days, too. Right now I was feeling thankful that the camp was not more heavily booked.

The camping party left.

We needed to go for a drive, just to get away from the camp environs.

Back in July, O had found time to slash the track that went in a circuit, around by Kirkby Waters, on to Bathtub Springs, and thence back to the main track near Mystery Shovel Waterhole. It had been the last track area to dry out enough to take the tractor and we had not had time to explore it yet. So that was today’s destination.

The main track to the north – to the Calvert crossing – was getting pretty well defined by now, with regular guest groups being taken to various sites along it. Of course, the further away from the house and camp it got, the less well defined it became. It was still no speed route – the surface was too rough and there were too many twists and turns for that.

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Our first stop was where the recent caving party had done some exploring and found some new caves. We had no intention of exploring down same, but just wanted to look at the opening and the limestone ridge around it.

When you knew what to look for, the fig trees that could be a real marker for caves, were obvious. They grew in such locations because their roots were able to get right down into the ground and find sufficient moisture way down, to sustain them.

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Cave marker tree stands out from the rest of the vegetation

There were also stromatolites in the area.

As we walked up the hill to the cave opening, caught sight of a very large python disappearing fast, down into the cave. Had we’d had any thoughts of exploring down there, that would have been enough to squash same! Then, as I was wandering about looking at things, spotted a big tree snake up in a tree.

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Cave entrance amongst stromatolites

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Pays to look where you are walking, on this place

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Cave up a slight rise from the track

As we followed the rough and slow track towards Bathtub Springs, came across a few of the feral cattle that were still on the place. They did not seem at all concerned by us trundling slowly along, and just kept on grazing near the track.

It was easy to see that this track had been damp until recently, by the number of bottlebrush trees there were around – and in profuse flower.

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Melaleuca viridiflora?

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The Bathtub Springs area was really pretty. The springs there had created a sort of creek/small swamp, fringed by huge paperbarks.

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Bathtub Springs

There were wonderful reflections in the waters, too.

O had a boat moored here for the season. It was the most recently bought one, considered rather tricky, because of an accident involving its previous owner. So, John knew to be careful operating it.

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The boat at Bathtub Springs

He took us out on the Calvert River. Just downstream from where the boat was moored, the river narrowed to one of its choke points -shallows and jammed trees – but we were able to motor upstream for several kms on a wide, slow, stretch of the river.

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It was scenic, peaceful, pleasant, really enjoyable.

On one of the wide reaches of the long water hole, there was just enough breeze to ripple the surface of the water, which created the illusion of stars dancing on the water.

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The river was lined by pandanus and big old paperbarks.

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The far bank was, for most of the length of the water hole, a low, red rock bluff. The colour contrasts were great. We could see where higher flood levels had caused damage to some of the vegetation at the sides of the river.

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After spending some time on the river, we continued along the circuit track, to where it joined the main one to the coast, not far from Mystery Shovel.

Along there, we deviated to look at another creek and water hole, and saw a huge black feral pig wallowing around in the water, with a white egret on its back, doing whatever egrets do. This was the first feral pig we’d seen on the property.

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Feral pig, with egret

After that, it was the trundle back to camp, via the house, where we reported back to A and W, so they would know we had returned safely from our adventuring.

This was a wonderful day off, after such a busy period.

 

 

 

 


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1998 Travels August 18

TUESDAY 18 AUGUST      USSHER POINT TO SEISIA      108kms

We did not sleep well. One reason may have been residual tension from the day. But there was pretty constant “critter” noise around outside. Neither of us was game to go out and see what animal/s were causing it! We did know we were too far from the sea, and up too high on the cliff top, for it to be the croc, but in the dark of the night the mind can come up with some similarly nasty possibilities! At one stage, I even wondered whether we should migrate the lilo to the roof rack and try to sleep up there!

After breakfast, we went and gathered some firewood and took it back to the clearing. Then we drove back to the bog area to retrieve a chain John realized we’d left behind. I insisted that John turn Truck around well before we got to the gully, even though it meant some backing to and fro in the scrub at the side of the track. We then walked to get the chain! I took photos in the daylight of the bog site, it having been too dark when we got ourselves unstuck last night.

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Where we had been stuck – pretty churned up now. The low shrub just around the corner helped us out, eventually.

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This is how the track looked as we approached the place, yesterday. Problem area upper centre. Just doesn’t look that hard!

After lunch back at camp, we went for a walk on the beach. Made sure that we crossed the creek outlet at a point where it was shallow and quite a distance from the deeper, croccy part! There did not seem to be any new croc tracks.

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The beach and cliffs at Ussher Point

We meandered along, for quite a distance, looking at the low cliffs and rock outcrops. Then I saw an animal, in the distance, coming down a scrubby slope and commented to John that there was a cow coming. But it was a HUGE pig that emerged onto the beach and wandered along it, stopping to dig holes in the sand. We were between the water and it – a very scary situation. I really did wish that we had a gun, as I tried to remember if I’d read anything about the likelihood of a feral pig that size attacking people.

After a surprisingly short discussion, we both agreed we did not want to spend another night in the little tent, with those sorts of creatures around. Especially given last night’s noises!

So, it was a fast walk back to camp, keeping a wary eye on pig whilst we were on the beach part.

We were packed up in under an hour and back onto the track by 4pm.

Our only choice, apart from another night camped in the bush, was to go back to Seisia, as it was dark by the time we reached the main road. Got to Seisia at 7.45pm, so we had really pushed it along.

After these harrowing two days, and given that it was now raining heavily, we could not face setting up a tent again, in the Seisia sand patch, for just one night. So we asked at the campground what the price was for one of their “motel rooms”. She said $38, which we thought was reasonable, so we took it. Then, it turned out that she meant EACH – so the room cost us $76 for the night. For that money, we got a small cubicle-like room, one of several in a donga structure. It just held two single beds, a small bar fridge, and two small sets of drawers. The air conditioning worked – very noisily – all night, and there was no way of turning it off or disconnecting it. There was an electric kettle so we could make tea or coffee – but the kettle cord was not long enough to reach from any solid surface to the only power point, so one stood and held up the kettle until it boiled. The amenities block was a good fifty metres away – no, our room was not en-suite!

John rushed off and bought fish and chips from the kiosk, just before they closed.

Overall, Ussher Point was not a very interesting or scenic place, and certainly not worth the effort involved in getting there.

It was not a great night’s sleep – but at least we did not have to worry about pigs!

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Route from Punsand to Ussher Point. We returned to Bamaga, then Seisia.